Worship Resources

 

Sample Worship Service

Call to Worship 1
Call to Worship 2
Children's Sermon 1
Invitation to Offering 1
Invitation to Offering 2
Litany 1
Litany 2
Prayer of Confession and Words of Assurance
Sermon Starter

 

 

One Great Hour of Sharing®

 

Suggested Offering Date:  March 14, 2010

 

Scripture:  Do you love me? …Feed my sheep! John 21:15-17

 

For 60 years, North American churches have joined together in support of the One Great Hour of Sharing® offering.  Currently, 9 denominations receive the offering. 

 

In the United Church of Christ, One Great Hour of Sharing supports international programs of health, education, agricultural development, worldwide disaster relief efforts and refugee assistance. Wider Church Ministries administers the offering which is most often received during worship, the 4th Sunday of Lent.

 

 

Call to Worship

 

One:       Jesus says, “Follow me.”

 

Many:     Here we are, Lord.

 

One:       Jesus says, “Take care of my sheep.”

 

Many:     We pledge ourselves to the task.

 

All:          Let us worship God by following Jesus and caring for others.

 

 

Opening Prayer

 

Loving God, you brought the world into being and then pronounced it good. You gave us your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us what we are to do. We come to you this Sabbath day seeking your help. Remind us again that you love us, and that because of your love, we are to love others. Encourage us to choose faith over fear. Challenge us to allow hope to triumph over cynicism. Show us that with you all things are possible. Amen.

 

 

Litany

 

One:       Jesus asks, “Do you love me?”

 

Many:     Like Simon Peter, we respond, “You know we love you.”

 

One:       Jesus instructs us to feed his sheep.

 

Many:     We search for ways to feed God’s people.

 

One:       Jesus asks, “Do you truly love me?”

 

Many:     And like Simon Peter, we say, “Yes, Lord; you know that we love you.”

 

One:       Jesus insists that we care for his sheep.

 

Many:     We search for ways to care for God’s people.

 

One:       Jesus asks a third time, “Do you love me?”

 

Many:     Once again we reply, “Lord, you know everything; you know that we love

               you.”

 

One:       “Feed my sheep and follow me.”

 

Many:     We search for you, Jesus, yearning to follow you and to care for others.

 

One:       Jesus leads us like a shepherd, and we follow like sheep,

 

All:          Caring for all of God’s children along the journey.

 

 

Invitation to the Offering

 

Please join with Christians throughout the United States this day and give heartily to One Great Hour of Sharing. Yes, please give as much as you can! And give from your heart, from your love for Jesus and your desire to help care for his sheep.

 

Dedicatory Prayer

 

Oh God, who has changed our future because of your love, may these gifts through One Great Hour of Sharing help change the future of your beloved children in need throughout the world. May the people these monies help, feel your love and presence, and our love. Amen.

 

 

Call to Worship 2

 

One:         In a world that seems random and chaotic,

 

Many:       Know that the Lord is God.

 

One:         We are not alone.

 

Many:       It is God who made us. We are God’s people.

 

One:         God unites us one with another.

 

Many:       All of us are the sheep of God’s pasture.

 

All:            Let us worship the One who cares for us so lovingly. Amen.

 

 

Opening Prayer

 

Loving God, you brought the world into being and then pronounced it good. We come to you this Sabbath day seeking to renew our relationship with you. Remind us again that you love us, and that because of your love, we are to love others. Encourage us to choose faith over fear. Challenge us to allow hope to triumph over cynicism. Show us that with you all things are possible. Amen.

 

Prayer of Confession

 

Dear God, we come before you this day as limited people, surrounded by a world where evil and injustice are rampant. Forgive us for not opening our minds and heart to truly understand the health, wholeness, beauty, and shalom you intend for this world. Forgive us for glibly saying, ”Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and then not pouring our energy into helping make that happen. For our neglect, our ignorance, our willful dodging of the tasks and life you have shown as The Way, we ask forgiveness. Amen.

 

 

Words of Assurance

 

Jesus forgave Peter and directed him into newness of life. Jesus forgives all who earnestly seek forgiveness. Jesus forgives you. Live as a forgiven disciple in the flock of God.

 

 

Litany (Adapted from Matthew 18:10-14)

 

One:       Why have hope? Our world is a mess!

 

Many:     If a shepherd had a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, what does the shepherd do?

 

One:       Considers it a lost cause and moves on.

 

Many:     No! The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine on the mountain and searches for the one who went astray.

 

One:       But that’s bad business. The other ninety-nine sheep could be in danger.

 

Many:     And the shepherd rejoices upon finding the lost one!

 

One:       But what about the ninety-nine who never went astray?

 

Many:     It is the will of our Father in heaven that none of God’s little ones should be lost.

 

One:       So nothing is a lost cause with God?

 

Many:     Exactly. God loves each of us, even when we stray.

 

One:       What about our world?

 

Many:     The sheep in God’s pasture do not always act well. Anger and misunderstanding lead to war. Greed encourages domination. Apathy leads to inaction.

 

One:       Why should I believe that we can change anything?

 

Many:     Because God loves us.

 

One:       Does God’s love make a difference?

 

Many:     Yes. Because of God’s love, our hearts are changed. Because we love God, we are called to love one another. In so doing, we bring hope to the flock and help repair a broken world.

 

One:       What is the next step?

 

All:          Believing that our love can make a difference, hoping for a better world, and putting our faith into action.

 

 

Invitation to the Offering

 

Please join with Christians throughout the United States this day and give heartily to One Great Hour of Sharing. While we may all be feeling the pinch of the declining economy, so too are our brothers and sisters around the world. Many who survived on little before and now have next to nothing. Please give as much as you can! And give from your heart, from your love for Jesus and your desire to help care for his sheep.

 

 

Dedicatory Prayer

Oh God, who has changed our future because of your love, may these gifts through One Great Hour of Sharing help change the future of your beloved children in need throughout the world. May the people these monies help, feel your love and presence, and our love. Amen.

 

 

Charge and Benediction

Walk boldly into the future as a changed person because of Jesus’ love for you. Work with God to change the future of the world for good, because you love Jesus.

 

 

Sermon Starter

 

 

Theme

A Changed Future: A World of Hope and Relationship

 

Scripture

John 21:15-17, 19

 

Concept

After Jesus’ death, what does Peter do? He goes back to his old job—fishing (John 21). What happened to the dare-devil, brave-at-heart disciple who had been so close to Jesus, learning, seeing miracles first hand, working with the Master? Why would he go back to pre-Jesus ways? Overwhelmed by grief? Crippled by a pervasive sense of guilt? Immobilized by whopping failures at critical times in his past?  Perhaps for Peter, the old familiar way seemed all that was possible.

 

Peter had utterly failed Jesus the night Jesus was arrested. After the resurrection, Jesus questions Peter face to face. “Do you love me?” Jesus asks three times, seeking to know the bedrock truth. Peter’s truth is, “Yes, Lord! You know that I love you.” Jesus doesn’t leave Peter to wallow in despair and aimlessness. He forgives Peter.

 

And he goes even further! Jesus doesn’t let Peter succumb to the reduced future that might naturally have resulted from Peter’s very public flameout. Instead, Jesus entrusts Peter with a huge task: Feed my sheep. Jesus had tremendous expectations of Peter, because Jesus knew that Peter loved him and knew what Peter was capable of doing—how Peter was capable of loving and how deep the world’s need was for that love. Through love, Jesus shapes a new future for Peter—a future of hope and relationship. Forgiven and assured of Jesus’ love, Peter was zealous in love, in care for the people Jesus had so loved, in building the caring, active, outreaching community that would change lives throughout the world, and, indeed, create a different future for the world itself.

 

Do our attitudes at times mirror Peter’s before his conversation with Jesus? Do the old familiar ways, the safety of just looking after ourselves, make our vision of what is possible much smaller than what Jesus envisions? Jesus speaks to us as well as to Peter. “Do you love me?” he asks each of us. One of the amazing mysteries is that Jesus loves each of us as much as he loved Simon Peter. And he has similarly high expectations of each of us. The response he gave Peter is for all of us: Feed my sheep.

 

One Great Hour of Sharing is how we, united with Christians throughout the U.S., reach out in God’s love to help change bleak futures into much different stories. We help create futures of health, education, ample food and clean water, jobs, and hope. Jesus gave his disciples the mandate: Feed my sheep. Our love for Jesus fuels the passion, the determination, and the sacrifice that caring for Jesus’ flock takes. Not only are our lives and futures profoundly changed because of Jesus’ love. We also help shape a new future for people who receive help through One Great Hour of Sharing.

 

 

Children’s Sermon

 

Supplies

One limp, unfilled balloon and one air-filled balloon

 

Concept

(Show the children the limp, empty balloon.) Would this be fun to play with as it is? What could you do with it? (Model it as a necktie or a one-finger glove.) When our lives are empty of God’s love, we are about as useful as an empty balloon—capable of a lot, but not doing much now.

 

(Blow the second balloon up and tie it shut.) This balloon is filled with air. What could you do with it? (Bat it around, watch it float, etc. If you have used the long balloons that can be twisted into different shapes, show that it could be made into a hat, a dog figure, etc.) Would it be fun to play with?

 

An empty balloon just wants to lie around. A balloon filled with air wants to move around, bounce, and play. Filling a balloon with air changes what it can do and what it wants to do. The same thing happens to people. Being filled with God’s love changes what we want to do and what we can do. Being filled with God’s love changes our future! The last thing Jesus asked of his disciples was to feed his sheep, which was another way of saying, “Take care of the people I dearly love.” When we love God, taking care of others is what we want to do.

 

One Great Hour of Sharing is an important way we help take care of people God loves very much who are hurting throughout the world. Our offering helps bring shelter, food, water, and medical supplies to disaster survivors. It helps refugees find safety and begin to build new lives. It aids poor communities in securing medical care, education, and dependable sources of food and clean water.

 

Filling a balloon with air changes its future. The balloon can now do so much more. God’s love changes our future; we want to do so much more to help people who need it. One Great Hour of Sharing changes what the people who receive the help can do. They have brighter futures because of our sharing.

 

To support One Great Hour of Sharing:
Make an online gift today
Gift a generous gift at your local UCC church
or
Send your gift by mail, made payable to:

One Great Hour of Sharing
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115-1100

 

 

Materials were prepared by Kristin Andes, a member of the Southern Conference of the UCC.

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CONTACT INFO



Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org